Is your mobile maintenance solution for SAP EAM performing well? Are you seeing the productivity and cost savings you expected? Is it fully used by the technicians? Is it costly to maintain?
In this article, we’ll explore the common shortcomings of legacy SAP EAM work order mobile apps and define what to consider in upgrading to a modern-day mobile maintenance solution.
Why Consider Upgrading your Mobile Maintenance Solution?
Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) with SAP is a many-layered and time-consuming set of activities ripe for mobile digital transformation with today’s technologies. If you have already deployed a mobile solution, you already recognize the benefits of keeping data digital with mobile devices.
With that being said, there is likely room to improve. Not all mobile solutions are the same. To do mobile right, you need to leverage today’s technologies and proven productivity features. Legacy or custom-built SAP EAM work order mobile apps likely have gaps that inhibit their adoption and active use resulting in a lost opportunity to completely streamline processes and optimize resources.
Given the labor shortage challenges and increasing pressures on operational budgets, it is time to consider upgrading to a third-party, mobile maintenance solution. Today’s proven mobile technologies are easier and lower cost to implement, they can be rapidly scaled across enterprise organizations and result in a higher productivity impact for quick ROI. From a cost-to-value standpoint, there are few valid arguments against consideration.
Common Challenges in Mobile Maintenance Solutions for SAP EAM
It’s not always easy to do mobile right. As McKinsey notes in their whitepaper, A Smarter Way to Digitize Maintenance and Reliability, “When companies get all of the requirements right, the results can be impressive. Leading players…have increased profitability by 4 to 10 percent in some organizations. But these lighthouse examples are the exception rather than rule. Many companies that have implemented digital maintenance and reliability solutions have seen little measurable impact.”
Many issues can play into digital transformation failure including lack of vision or stakeholder buy-in, poor training and technology implementation issues (including unique challenges of mobile solutions). Here’s a few mobile challenges worthy of pursuing an upgrade to a newer solution to avoid:
- Frequent app crashes
- Poor app load time
- Slow data exchange
- High data latency
- Lack of access to data by users when offline
- Data sync process disrupts the use of the mobile
Fortunately, there are mobile EAM solutions that address the issues noted above including providing high-performance integration with SAP. Standard SAP integrations used by most software providers and in-house IT teams tend to parse too much information, leading to poor performance and data loss. The performance of the integration with SAP can limit the number of users and the scaling of the mobile solution across locations.
In addition, Native mobile apps provide higher performance for a more efficient and responsive user experience as they are able to take full advantage of the speed and memory of the mobile device.
Low App Adoption by Users
A custom-built legacy solution likely has a unique user interface (UI) which can be challenging or non-intuitive to a new user such as a contractor. A complicated UI impedes app use, interrupting workflows and increasing the potential for errors and delays. In other words—if field workers are having difficulty navigating the app, they will likely use workarounds, which, unfortunately, impacts the entire team’s performance.
A native app is designed for the mobile device operating system thus works as the user expects based on their own experiences with their personal device. Therefore, an app designed especially for an Apple or Android mobile device will shorten the learning curve and increases the user’s interactions with the app. Native mobile apps can also easily access the device features (camera, video, GPS etc.) and memory. For example, complete manuals—not just the parts of the manuals related to the day’s orders—can be downloaded to the mobile device for offline availability via the app. This is a critical function should a technician find a new issue to fix in locations with poor connectivity.
High Costs to Maintain the App
Early mobile EAM solutions lack the agility and flexibility of current solutions. They often require an extra layer of IT to maintain the software overtime, adding additional costs and complexities without adding value. For example, legacy apps need constant updating and tweaking to fix bugs, align with mobile operating system (OS) changes and to keep them secure. To make changes would require developers to customize the app which might come as an outside expense. Third-party mobile maintenance solutions are managed by the provider and are maintained for bugs, OS changes and security. For a deeper comparison, read Enterprise Industrial Software: Ready-made vs. In-house Development.
App Design Doesn’t Fully Address the Real Processes
If the legacy SAP EAM work order mobile app simply digitized the paper workflows or was designed by generalists, it likely has shortcomings in covering the breadth of maintenance processes. It also likely misses the opportunity to take full advantage of the digital possibilities that would require a new digital workflow approach.
McKinsey further commented in the above-referenced article, “While the overriding aim of digital work management (DWM) is to reduce waste and address pain points for the business, that won’t happen if adoption is poor. Therefore, successful systems must also make life easier for users, such as maintenance and operations staff or external contractors. That requires a good understanding of their working practices, challenges and pain points.”
A third-party, proven mobile EAM app will overcome most usability issues with new mobile workflows designed by knowledgeable experts in the function and tested for years with real-world use.
Doing Mobile Right
McKinsey identified three factors that determined success:
- “Companies take a holistic view of these new tools, building digital technologies into a clearly defined vision for the future of the maintenance and reliability function.
- They focus on two domains that have proved to be truly effective…: predictive maintenance (PdM) and digital work management (DWM). [McKinsey defines DWM as: workflow digitization, mobile execution, and real-time performance management.]
- Finally, they support their use of digital tools by ensuring the necessary enablers are in place, including optimized workflows, a robust data infrastructure, and the capabilities of their personnel.”
As a key component of digital work management, take the time to evaluate your current mobile implementation and consider the options to do mobile right. For more details on key criteria, read our whitepaper, Doing Mobile the Right Way for Plant Maintenance by Bob Dieterle.
Upgrade and Experience the Benefits
It is time to upgrade your legacy SAP EAM work order app to a third-party-proven mobile maintenance solution! Some of the benefits you can expect:
- Greater app adoption. Intuitive, responsive UI is easy to use, improving adoption across the board.
- Lower hard costs. If you haven’t gone paperless in maintenance, A mobile EAM solution can significantly reduce paper and printing costs.
- Increase wrench time. Workers spend more time doing what they do best and less time managing the admin requirements of the job. As a result, you can optimize your resources, reduce overtime, and reduce use of contractors.
- Better resource allocation. Real-time data enables timely responses and better business decisions, increasing agility and optimizing efforts through every process.
- Avoid errors and increase safety. Field workers have access to all the information they need to get the job done right whether they are online or offline.
- Real-time data visibility. Status of work orders, notifications, documentation, and communication are updated in SAP real-time.
- Future-proof technology. Worry less about your tech and focus more on the work at hand, knowing your mobile solution is built to grow with you.
Get Help from the SAP EAM Experts
Sigga has been helping companies to close gaps in SAP EAM functionality for 20 years. It takes dedication and ongoing development to sustain world-class mobile experiences. As a result, Sigga Mobile EAM is the leading mobile maintenance solution for SAP EAM environments. As a natively designed application, our Mobile EAM app benefits from the OS-provider continued innovations and security. We have also developed our own SAP-certified integration technology to provide higher performance to support the data exchange volumes required for maintenance workflows of large, Enterprise organizations with hundreds of mobile users.
To extend the digital work management, our Sigga Planning & Scheduling solution replaces excel spreadsheet work by automating many of the routine steps in creating the daily, weekly or monthly schedules. Plus, Sigga Warehouse & Inventory extends the mobile, digital transformation to adjacent functions for more productivity enhancements.
See how our solutions have been specifically designed to complement your SAP EAM investment.